Join myself along with special guests Eric Wright from VMTurbo and John Troyer from TechReckoning as we countdown the top 25 bloggers based on the results from my annual VMware/virtualization blog survey. This event will be broadcast live via Google Hangouts at 10:30am PST on Thursday June 30th right here on vSphere-land.com so bookmark this page, get the popcorn ready and come back when it starts. If you want to tweet about this event please use the hashtag #TopvBlog2016. Alternatively you can view it direct on YouTube at this link. And in case you missed it here’s some statistics on this year’s voting to get you ready for the results.
Category Archive: News
Jun 27 2016
Jun 23 2016
I was looking through the 2015 VMworld session recordings looking for a particular session on VVols and backups and discovered that I no longer had to log into my account as a VMworld attendee to view the sessions. VMware always limits the VMworld session recordings to paid attendees except for some select sessions that they release on YouTube shortly after the event. Typically at some point VMware will lift the restrictions so anyone can view the sessions right before the next year’s VMworld. Not sure when they did that this year but it looks like anyone can access last years sessions right now. So head on over to the VMworld 2015 session page and enjoy the hours and hours of great content that exists there.
Jun 23 2016
If you were asked what the largest VMUG UserCon event in the US was and the 2nd largest in the world would you have guessed Indianapolis, IN? Probably not. I was always curious as to why that was, you would expect much bigger cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Boston to be the biggest but the fact is Indianapolis has consistently had the highest attendance of any VMUG event in the US and the 2nd highest in the world. Indy regularly draws around 900 attendees, the next biggest cities in the US are Chicago (800), Atlanta (700), Kansas City (700) and Charlotte (700). The largest VMUG in the world is in the Netherlands with around 950 attendees.
So why is Indy so well attended? After attending several past VMUGs in Indy and talking to attendees I found out that where Indy is located pulls from several states (IL, IN, KY, OH, MI) and well populated areas including Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville. This centralized location draws people from all over and is what drives the attendance so high at Indy. I’ve always enjoyed going to the Indy VMUG and will be back again this year. Indy is a very laid back city and the people there are very friendly, it still maintains that Midwest small town feel despite having a population of close to a million people. The airport is easy to navigate and not overly crowded, I was surprised at how early all the restaurants and shops shut down in the airport, usually around 8pm.
So if you are attending the Indy VMUG on 7/20 stop by the HPE booth and say hi, we have a cool drone that we’ll be giving away, I’ll also be doing a session on VVols at 11:00am. I expect other bloggers and community people will be there as well from the agenda I can see that Chris Wahl, Sean Massey, Gina Rosenthal, Eric Shanks, Paul Woodward will be there and I suspect you will see a few more.
Jun 22 2016
Just noticed that VMware announced the band without any fanfare this year and it’s Fall Out Boy along with some indie electro band called Capital Cities.
Once again I’m disappointed in the band selection but I’ve gotten used to not expecting anything great as not getting more popular bands has seemed to be the trend the past few years. I did a post last year on this which listed all the bands across the years that have played at VMworld along with the cost to hire them along with a comparison to bands at other vendor conferences (EMC, Oracle, Cisco, etc.). Here’s the band breakdown at VMworld over the years along with the cost to hire each band:
- 2007 – Smash Mouth – $40K – $60K
- 2008 – DJ & Tainted Love (cover band) – probably not a heck of a lot
- 2009 – Foreigner – $40K – $50K
- 2010 – INXS – ? (prob under $100K)
- 2011 – Killers – $500K
- 2012 – Jon Bon Jovi & the Kings of Suburbia – $850K
- 2013 – Train and Imagine Dragons – Train – $200K-$300K, Imagine Dragons – $400K – $600K
- 2014 – The Black Keys – $975K
- 2015 – Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes – Neon Trees – $40K – $45K, Alabama Shakes – $90K – $125K
- 2016 – Fall Out Boy – $100K – $150K, Capital Cities – $40K – $60K
The cost of the bands this year is on par with last year and in case you were wondering here are some comparisons of who else they could of selected with a roughly $200K band budget.
- 38 Special – $35K – $45K
- Blues Traveler – $40K – $40K
- Cheap Trick – $45K – $70K
- Creed – $100K
- Five Finger Death Punch – $50K – $75K
- Jefferson Starship $15K – $25K
- Paramore – $125K – $175K
- Pharrell Williams – $125K – $175K
- Steve Miller Band– $100K – $200K
- Slash – $45K – $65K
Well at least I know the band early this year as I will probably leave Wed. evening and skip the party. If you’re around and not thrilled about the band choice there is always the UNParty you could go to instead, or since you’re in Vegas there is plenty of other things to do.
Jun 22 2016
The VMworld Content Catalog has been published and I wanted to highlight the sessions on Virtual Volumes (VVols) and also the ones I found most enticing. Before I begin I wanted to highlight my own session, unfortunately the updated 2016 edition of the session I presented at VMworld last year, Top 10 Things You Must Know Before Implementing Virtual Volumes was not approved this year. It made it through the voting last year and it scored very well in the session reviews but for whatever reason it didn’t make it this year. My session was also full of technical content only not specific to any hardware vendor except for having some examples of showing the setup and config of VVols on 3PAR.
If you take a look at the vendor VVols sessions that did get approved you will notice that most of them had a VMware speaker attached to them so maybe that’s what I should have done as well this year. Oh well, what I ended up having to do is combine my session with another HPE session so at least you will get to see half of my session this year as a sponsor session. I promise you though despite being a sponsor session it will be very technical and educational.
Containers & VVols – a technical deep dive on new technologies that revolutionize storage for vSphere [9617-SPO]
- Garth Booth, HPSD VDU, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Eric Siebert, Solutions Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
I’ll note another vendor session from SolidFire/NetApp that also did not make it through the voting and used their sponsor session slot.
Making SolidFire Invisible in your VMware Environment [9726-SPO]
- Josh Atwell, NetApp
So let’s move on to some VMware only sessions, you’ll notice Pete Flecha’s name on a lot of VVol sessions. Pete is a technical marketing architect at VMware who is focused on VVols who took over the role from Ken Werneberg who you might have remembered from last years VVols sessions. The first session I’ll highlight is a partner panel lead by Pete similar to the one last year but with a different focus area, transitioning to VVols (How not the Why). I’ve been invited to that one so I hope you can attend, I like this topic as I have done a lot of research on customer transitions to VVols and trying to learn their experiences with it. We pull a lot of metrics from our arrays via phone home capabilities so we have very good visibility into customer adoption of VVols.
Transitioning to VVols: Partner Panel 
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
The next session has been held the last few years at VMworld and is always a good one, here’s the link to last years session. Patrick Dirks leads the VVol development team, he co-presented with us one year on VVols and of course Pete is very technical as well so this one is a must see.
Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive 
- Patrick Dirks, Sr Manager, VMware, Inc.
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
This next session focuses on snapshots, while they did suck when vSphere was managing them, they don’t with VVols, attend this session to find out why. I managed the development of a whole technical paper on that topic if you want to find out more and can’t wait for the session.
Snapshots Suck: How VSAN and VVol fix all your operational nightmares 
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
- John Nicholson, Technical Marketing Manager, VMware
In this session Lee & Duncan cover VVols along with VAIO and VSAN, should be a good one to cover the basics on each topic.
Software Defined Storage @ VMware Primer 
- Lee Dilworth, Principal Architect, VMware
- Duncan Epping, Chief Technologist, VMware
Finally these last 2 VMware sessions cover deploying database solutions on VVols, haven’t really seen anybody doing that yet so it will be good to hear about running tier-1 workloads on VVols.
Deploying SAP Netweaver and HANA with vSphere 6 and Latest Solutions in the VMware SDDC 
- Bob Goldsand, Staff Partner Architect, VMware
- Vas Mitra, SAP Solutions Architect, VMware
Achieving Agility, Flexibility , Scalability and Performance with VMware Software Defined Storage (SDS) and Virtual Volumes for Business critical databases 
- Sudhir Balasubramanian, Senior Solution Architect – Data Platforms, VMware
- Mohan Potheri, Sr Solution Architect, VMware
There are also 2 hands-on labs focused on VVols, one is self-paced, the other expert led.
Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy Based Management [SPL-1708-SDC-2]
Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy Based Management Workshop [ELW-1708-SDC-2]
- Ken Osborn
Here’s an interesting session that is more of a customer case study on a company that us using VVols for both server virtualization and VDI. It’s always good to hear real-world experiences instead of vendors and VMware preaching to you so be sure and check this one out.
VVol and Storage Policy-Based Management ? Is It Everything They Said It Would Be? 
- Ben Bolles, VP Product Management, Pivot3
- Jeremiah Francis, Director, Information technology, Financial Advocates
The rest are all vendor sessions with a VMware speaker tacked on, as a vendor session your mileage may vary but hopefully they stay technical, neutral and educational. As every vendor has slightly different implementations of VVols it’s good to see what each vendor is doing.
High-Speed Heroics: Array-based Replication and Recovery for VMware Virtual Volumes 
- Julian Cates, Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer, Nimble Storage
- Rawlinson Rivera, Principal Architect, VMware
Virtual Volumes: Why? 
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
- Rajib Ghosh, Consultant Product Manager, EMC
Virtual Volumes in a NetApp Environment 
- Rhett Bigler, Vmware Technical Alliance Manager, NetApp
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
Deploy Scalable Private Cloud with vSphere Virtual Volumes 
- Pete Flecha, Sr Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
- Dinesh Singh, Solutions Marketing Manager, Hitachi Data Systems
The SDDC: Full Stack on vSphere 6.0 SAP Business Warehouse Powered By HANA, NSX, vRealize Operations,SDS-Virtual Volumes on Hitachi Unified Platform 
- Bob Goldsand, Staff Partner Architect, VMware
- David Pascuzzi, Sr Solution Architect, Hitachi Data Systems
Jun 21 2016
The VMworld Content Catalog is now live for the US event, there are a total of 609 sessions this year which is broken down into the following type of sessions:
- 379 – Breakout sessions
- 70 – Hands-on labs (self-paced)
- 33 – Hands-on labs (expert-led)
- 38 – Panel discussions
- 5 – Spotlight sessions
- 20 – Solutions Exchange Theater sessions
- 24 – Quick Talks
- 10 – PEX Boot Camp sessions
- 2 – PEX Workshops
- 29 – PEX Breakout sessions
Any session that has SPO in the session ID means it is a sponsor session, a quick search shows that out of the 379 Breakout sessions, 47 of them are sponsor sessions. A search on “, VMware” and sorting through the results returns the following session breakdown (math may not be completely perfect):
- 255 sessions with exclusive VMware speakers
- 40 sessions with at least one VMware speaker (other is a customer/partner)
- 47 sessions that are sponsor sessions (paid)
- 37 sessions left over (non VMware or sponsor)
Note that while you can see all the sessions available right now, the Schedule Builder will not be live until July 19th.
Jun 17 2016
While we wait for the results announcement which should come next week via a live Google Hangout with John Troyer and VMTurbo I thought I would release some statistics on the results as an appetizer before the big meal arrives.
- This year there were 1600+ votes, down a bit from 2200 last year.
- There were 411 blogs in the voting last year, this year there were 321. Blogs that did not have at least 10 posts in 2015 were left off the voting ballot this year.
- There were 83 new blogs added this year to the ballot that were not there last year.
- There was 1 new blog (started in 2015) that made the top 50.
- There were 12 additional blogs that made it into the top 50 that were not there last year.
- There were 7 blogs that made it into the top 25 that were not there last year.
- There was 1 new blog to the top 10 (and one long time top 10 blog that fell out).
- There was 6 position changes in the top 10.
- There was a very heated and close battle this year for the #1 spot. Do we have a new #1? Watch the live results show to find out.
Jun 16 2016
I was out at HPE Discover last week, I delivered a theater session on storage for vSphere which covered VVols and also staffed the VMware demo station which had a big focus on VVols. Throughout the event I probably spoke with at least 50 people and I wanted to share what I observed and heard from those conversations.
Observation 1: Most people still don’t know what VVols is
I’d say 80% of the people that came to my demo station had heard of VVols but really did not have a basic understanding of what it is and the benefits that it provides. While my demo had a running vSphere environment with VVols configured, it seemed that the majority of my time with people seemed to be focused on presenting slides largely based on my VVols VMworld presentation last year to educate people on what VVols is. I probably spent at least 15-20 minutes per person explaining the concepts and benefits of VVols to people. This lack of knowledge seemed to exist both at the channel level and customer level.
Observation 2: Once people understood what VVols was all about they were excited about it
Almost everyone universally liked the benefits that VVols provides, the big ones were the changes to the snapshot mechanism, automated provisioning and reclamation, no more LUNs and silo’s, better efficiency and the ability to use storage policies.
Observation 3: Storage admins seemed OK with it but had some concerns
I talked to both sides of the fence, vSphere admins and storage admins and heard perspectives from each side. vSphere admins of course loved it as it empowers them with the ability to provision and manage storage resources. Most of the storage admins seemed OK with it as well despite giving up some level of control of provisioning and common storage tasks. A few concerns that storage admins had were around limiting VVol available space on the array, suppressing some of the array capabilities to vSphere and better visibility into VVol objects from the array side. There are some workarounds to address these that can be implemented on the array side.
Observation 4: While people thought the new snapshot mechanism is great, bulk snapshot management is not so great
With VVols there are two big changes to how snapshots work. The first is that there are no more vSphere managed snapshots, you still create snapshots the same way in the vSphere client but all VVol snapshots are actually array managed snapshots. The other big change is with the snapshot operation, with VMFS the base disk of a VM becomes read only and all changes are written to separate delta files. Once you delete a snapshot those delta files all have to be merged back into the base disk which is both resource and time intensive. With VVols the base disk remains read/write when a snapshot is taken, the delta files hold the original data when a change is made. When you delete a snapshot you can simply discard the delta files as the base disk already contains all the latest data, this is very quick and efficient.
Both these changes are great, now for the not so great, for people that want to do bulk VM snapshots (more than 1 VM), with VMFS you could do an array snapshot of the entire LUN, you can’t really do that with VVols though as each VVol is essentially its own LUN. You also can’t really do it in the vSphere Client either, you would have to snapshot each VM one-by-one which can be a pain in the butt especially if you are doing it to many VMs. You could try and script something with PowerCLI but it makes management more difficult. It would be nice if VMware could build a snapshot group feature into the vSphere client natively so you could take and manage snapshots of multiple VMs simultaneously.
Observation 5: People that are using VVols today had some concerns
I did run into a few people using VVols today and it ranged from some just testing it out to a few using it more large scale. Most people were OK with it but there were a few minor concerns. I had one person that had concerns around certificate expiration of the VASA Provider, if the cert were to expire your VASA Provider would essentially be unavailable which is not a good thing. You can manage certs for the VASA Provider on either the array side or the vSphere side, what they wanted to see is an alert mechanism/alarm that would let them know ahead of time so they were not surprised by a certificate expiring. Another concern was around protocol endpoints and the efficiency of using a single protocol endpoint on the storage array. I don’t feel this is a big concern area though as we have done extensive testing and found a single protocol endpoint to be sufficient. I brought them over to our product manager that had done some of the testing to get further re-assurance. The other concerns were around the lack of maturity of the new VASA spec (VVols 1.0) and lack of replication support. I think these will go away on their own with the next release of vSphere.
Observation 6: A lot of people are still on vSphere 5.x
I discovered a lot of people are still running vSphere 5.1 & 5.5 which prevents them from using VVols which requires vSphere 6.0. This also explains the lack of VVols understanding as it simply doesn’t exist in their world. The majority of them had upgrades planned in the next 6-9 months and they seemed excited to be finally able to start using VVols in their environment.
Jun 15 2016
The voting survey closed at the end of May, we had just over 1600 votes this year. I just finished a big road trip that was half vacation, half work right after the voting closed so the results announcement has been a bit delayed. On the trip we ended up driving from Denver, CO to Roswell, NM, then to Phoenix, AZ for a few days to celebrate my 50 b-day, then on to Vegas for a week at HPE Discover (work) and then driving down the Extraterrestrial Highway for a brief stop at Rachel, NV (you’ll know what’s there if you saw Independence Day) and finally a stop in Richfield, UT before heading back to Denver.
I’ll be publishing some voting stats this week as a teaser and am checking the availability of Mr. Troyer and the VMTurbo folks so we can set a date and time for the live results show which will hopefully be next week. Until then enjoy some pics from my road trip and stay tuned for more on Top vBlog 2016:
Poolside in Phoenix, it was 116 degrees when we got there, I don’t miss living there at all:
My office in Las Vegas for the week:
Cool items that were actually used in the new Star Trek movie, first two are the Captains command chair:
Escape pods from the Enterprise:
Cool Internet Of Things interactive exhibit:
May 19 2016
For anyone attending HPE Discover in Vegas next month, if you want to learn more about VVols or anything related to VMware visit my VMware focused demo and sign-up for my storage for VMware session.
My session info is below, it’s a theater session so it will be out on the show floor. I’ll be doing a comparison of File & Block protocols and also cover VMware’s new Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture and the impact it has on both block and file storage. You can search on my session ID or last name to find it in the Session Catalog.
My VMware demo (ID: 8773) is located in the Transform area of the Solutions Expo and is listed as “Storage Solutions for VMware”. I’ll have a live VMware environment with both 3PAR and StoreVirtual storage so you can see all of our VMware integration in action. VMware is a Gold sponsor of the event and has their own booth there as well. You can also visit some of my valued sponsors at the event as Veeam, VMTurbo and Zerto all have booth’s at the event as well.
Hope to see you there!
May 18 2016
Remember that painful goodbye you had to say to your beloved ESX hypervisor with the full Service Console back in 2011 when vSphere 5.0 was released with only ESXi? Well you better get ready to finally say goodbye to the vSphere C# (pronounced C-Sharp) Windows thick client also as VMware has just announced that the vSphere C# client is officially dead in the next vSphere release. VMware ESX was first released in 2001 and in 2008 VMware introduced the new lightweight ESXi hypervisor. At the time when ESXi launched, users basically had a choice on which hypervisor they wanted to deploy as they both provided the same core hypervisor functionality, the key difference between the two was in the manageability options. In it’s initial release ESXi had a lot of limitations compared to ESX and adoption of it was slow. Over time VMware built up the manageability of ESXi and once they felt it was on equal ground as ESX they retired ESX 3 years after the release of ESXi.
The vSphere C# Client has always been the main management interface for vSphere back to the early days of vCenter Server. Originally called the VirtualCenter Client it debuted with the VirtualCenter 1.0 release back in 2003. The VirtualCenter Client was renamed to the VI Client with the VI3 release in 2006 and later renamed to the current vSphere Client name as part of the vSphere 4.0 release in 2009. The vSphere C# Client is a Windows based application as it is written using Microsoft’s C# programming language within it’s .NET initiative. Being available only to Windows users resulted in a lot of griping from people that wanted a Mac and Linux client that would run natively on those operating systems and not cause them to install Windows just to manage their vSphere environment. As the mobile revolution ramped up as well having a client that you could run on an iPad was also desired. VMware did launch an iPad application and a mobile access client back in 2011 that used a vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) appliance as a proxy to vCenter Server for management. It worked OK but it was yet another management interface that VMware had to develop and maintain.
The current vSphere Web Client developed in Adobe Flex (Flash-based) was first introduced as part of vSphere 5.1 in 2012 as VMware felt they needed a fully featured universal cross-platform client that would work across any device (Windows/Linux/Mac/Mobile). Prior to vSphere 5.1 there was a pretty basic web access interface that could be used to manage vSphere in a very limited fashion. Over the years VMware has worked to improve the vSphere Web Client, the first iteration had a lot of limitations and missing feature support along with poor performance. Many people chose not to use it because of this and preferred to use the C# Client instead which was much quicker and had no limitations beyond being a Windows only client. One of the biggest grips with the vSphere Web Client was it was flash-based which has it’s own issues including limited device support. Despite VMware’s best efforts to improve it, most people still hated the vSphere Web Client as some of the core issues still existed (slow & flash-based) and you couldn’t use it on devices that did not support flash. As a result adoption wasn’t very high, people were still complaining and VMware was forced to keep the C# Client around.
New vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling interface
Whether people will satisfied with this new web client remains to be seen, the key thing is they no longer have a choice of clients going forward. It’s a bit unusual to see VMware making a special announcement about something like this far in advance of an actual release but I bet VMware wants to prep people now rather than spring it on them at release time and have that possible negativity overshadow the release itself. Think of it as telling someone they have 6 months or so to live so they can prepare for that fatal day instead of telling them a week in advance. When the time comes the uproar will have died down, the mourning will have passed and most people will just have to accept the fact that they have to make a change.
Remember VMware never keeps 2 of anything around that do the same thing as it’s double the development work for them. ESX was retired, the C# Client is being retired and at some point I expect VMFS to be retired as well in favor of VVols. Whether you like it or not the C# Client’s days are numbered, you can either choose to switch to the vSphere Web Client or stay on the current 6.0 release with the C# Client. Hopefully VMware will make it an easy decision by providing a HTML5 Web Client that everyone is happy with. The C# client will continue to be available with all supported versions of vSphere, all 5.x and 6.0 versions will offer this interface through the posted end of support dates.
VMware has not announced any timing as far as when the next vSphere release will be available but when they do at least you will be already prepared for the loss of your beloved vSphere C# Client. Here’s some additional information that VMware has provided on the new vSphere Web Client:
>What is VMware announcing on 5/18/16?
VMware is announcing that the C# client will no longer be available with the next release of vSphere.
>Why is VMware making this announcement now?
VMware has been transiting away from the C# client for the last several releases. In recent updates made to vSphere 6.0 VMware has moved functionality into the web client (such as Update Manager) that has further removed the need to run the C# client at all. VMware is also committed in its journey to provide an HTML5-based Web Client in addition to its Flash-based offering to market.
>Why is the web client (WC) a better choice than the c# client?
- Scalability – WC handles more objects and more concurrent admin access
- Bookmarking URLs – WC allows you to quickly return to specific objects or views and share them with others (such as in a support ticket)
- Recent Objects – WC lets you navigate quickly between things you’re working on
- Work-In-Progress – WC lets you save your work and come back to it later, even from another computer!
- Enhanced Linked Mode – WC can call up all your inventory in one view
- Remembers user customizations to UI – WC enables column selections and widths on grids, portlets on summary pages
- Latest feature support – WC is the only interface to support all new features
>“I hate f lash and don’t want to use a web client that uses that technology layer”
VMware agrees that flash is not the solution for the long-term. Our long-term direction is to utilize HTML5. Customers can experience this right now by using our flings for both the embedded host client and web client available at https://labs.vmware.com/flings. An HTML5 client will be available in future versions of vSphere.
>When is the next release of vSphere?
The date or launch timing for the next release of vSphere is not being disclosed at this time.
>Will the C# client still be available at all?
The C# client will still be supported with all non-EOL’d vSphere versions prior and post the next release.
>Has performance and overall usability being addressed in the web client?
Performance and overall usability have been dramatically improved with the release of vSphere 6 update 1 (released September 2015) and even further enhanced now that update 2 has become available (March 2016). We invite all customers to test the latest web client with our latest releases.
>I use specific plug-ins with vCenter. How do I migrate Web Client 3rd party plug-ins to HTML5?
Around 30-40% of the partner plug-ins are already in HTML5, we are working with the rest of the partner base to migrate them over to HTML5.
>Is VMware really listening to its customers? Haven’t you heard my feedback on the web client?
Yes, we are listening. The fling work on the HTML5 client plus the release of the embedded host client are evidence that we are paying attention and listening to customer feedback. To provide an example, let’s dive into this a bit further in this topic.
The vSphere C# Client today serves two unique purposes:
- Connecting to the vCenter Server
- Directly connecting to ESXi host
For the first purpose, the existing vSphere Web Client based on flash is that interface and directionally, through the HTML5 Fling, you can see VMware is preparing to move off of the flash requirement and providing a much speedier/modern interface for managing and operating vCenter Server.
For the second purpose, the Embedded Host Client (also HTML5- based) started out as a fling and now has become an officially shipping feature out of the box with vSphere 6.0 Update 2. This means that customers no longer require the vSphere C# Client to connect to individual ESXi host. This works for both licensed product as well as the free vSphere Hypervisor.
May 08 2016
Registration for VMworld 2016 in the US is now open, here’s some key information about the event:
- Dates/Times: VMworld US runs from Sunday, Aug. 28th until Thursday, Sept. 1st. On Sunday except for partner/TAM activities, nothing much is going on until 5:00pm when the Welcome Reception kicks off where you can mingle with all the sponsors in the Solutions Exchange and grab some food and drink. The first general session/keynote is Monday morning at 9:00am (Pat Gelsinger) and afterwards Breakout Sessions and the Solutions Exchange is open from 11:00am-6:00pm. This repeats on Tuesday, also on Wednesday but no keynote and things shutdown a bit earlier (5:00pm) because of the official VMworld party at 7:30pm. Thursday is typically a slower day as things are winding down and the event shuts down at 3:00pm. You can view the full agenda here.
- Location: VMworld is back in Vegas baby! The last time VMworld was in Vegas was 2011, the first VMworld that I attended in 2008 was also located in Vegas. However this time instead of the Venetian were it has historically been it’s now at Mandalay Bay. Why the change from San Francisco this year? Construction going on at Moscone Center triggered the change this year. How well will VMworld fit inside Mandalay Bay? Read my post here on that topic. I for one welcome the change of venue as it means less walking, better food, cheaper hotels and no earthquakes.
- Pricing: There are various discounts available for registration. Early bird pricing discounts are in effect now until June 6th, this typically saves you about $300. With the early bird discounts, individual registration is $1695, if you have been to two or more VMworlds as a paid full conference attendee you apply for the Alumni discount as well which gets you another $200 off ($1495). There are also discounts for government, education, VCP, VMUG and groups. If you can’t afford the registration fee keep your eyes open as many vendors offer promotional free passes for VMworld in the months leading up to the event. As luck would have it VMTurbo has a drawing in May, June and July were you have a chance to win 2 free passes to VMworld so go sign-up for that.
- Sessions: Public voting is now open for sessions until May 24th where you can influence which sessions make it in to the event. Speaker notifications are tentatively set to go out on June 14th, the dreaded “we’re sorry” email for many of us. The content catalog of approved sessions is scheduled to go live June 21st so you can see which sessions made the cut and the schedule builder goes live July 19th so you can start to add them to your schedule. It’s recommended to do this early as popular sessions fill up very fast. When sessions fill up you can be added to a waiting list and often times a 2nd running of the session is added for hot sessions.
- Partner Exchange: VMware phased out their annual Partner Exchange event (PEX), traditionally held in February, last year and merged it into VMworld. PEX at VMworld is a scaled down version of the event and takes place before VMworld officially kicks off Sunday evening with the Welcome Reception. It is meant for VMware partners only (no customers) and takes place on Saturday & Sunday with boot camps, keynotes and breakout sessions. The content is more geared towards sales enablement audiences to help them better sell VMware products. This is typically a registration add-on, you can read more about this here.
- Justification: I did a sample justification letter many years ago back in 2008 when I wrote for Tech Target. The VMworld crew must of seen that as they have offered one as well in subsequent years, you can download the current one that they have here. I know the cost of VMworld can be a hard sell especially if you are a customer, it’s definitely worth it though so take the time and try and make a solid business case for it. With VMworld in Vegas this year it might be cheaper overall with lower hotel costs and cheaper flights.
- Hotels: After hotel sticker shock in San Francisco the last few years paying $300-$600/night for a hotel often times with no frills, Vegas is a breath of fresh air where you can get a great hotel with loads of amenities for under $150/night. There are special VMworld rates at the Mandalay Bay and other nearby hotels that you can book as part of your VMworld registration. Mandalay Bay is $149/night, Delano (formerly THEhotel) is $189/night, MGM Grand is $75-$140/night and the Luxor is $50/night (plus the dumb resort fees), if you book direct to the hotel the rates are a bit higher but you can always find hotel deals in Vegas. How awesome is that, 4 nights in Vegas cheaper than 1 night in San Francisco. Again don’t wait to book your hotel if you want to be closer to the event or at the Mandalay Bay.
- The Band: A favorite topic of mine and I anxiously await each year to find out who the band will be as it is always great to have some good entertainment after a few days of deep knowledge absorption. I’ve been mostly disappointed the last few years in the band they chose, every year though I am cautiously optimistic that they will get a good band that I like. You can see the full list of VMworld bands over the years here and also read about the economic side of how much it costs to hire those bands.
VMware has a full FAQ on VMworld here that you can also look through that answers many common questions about the event. As the event draws closer I’ll be posting more links and information on it. See you in Vegas!
May 07 2016
I’m not sure VMware has officially announced it yet but public voting for VMworld session submissions is now open. I haven’t seen any tweets on it from the @VMworld account and the main VMworld web page doesn’t mention it yet but the Content Catalog is now live and after some poking around I found the Vote for Sessions link on the VMworld site on the Learning drop down tab. The link basically just takes you to the Content Catalog which I posted about yesterday, but you can vote on your favorite sessions if you login to the site.
Public voting for VMworld sessions will be open from May 3rd – May 24th at 11:59pm PST. The public voting is just one part of a whole scoring process that includes also content committee voting and sponsor voting. VMware reserves a small chunk of session slots (5%) that they call Customer Choice that can make it in via the public voting, the remainder of the session slots typically are filled up by VMware sessions, sponsor sessions and sessions that score favorably through the content committee voting.
You can vote on as many sessions as you want, since the list is so large (1,575) you are better of searching or filtering it on topics that interest you. You can only cast one vote for a session though. To vote on sessions do the following:
Go to the VMworld home page and click login at the top of the page.
If you don’t have an existing VMworld account, still click the login link but at the login page click Create Account. You’ll need to enter some basic required information (username, email, address info) and then an account will be created for you.
Once you are at the Content Catalog you will see the fill list of sessions, enter a search term (i.e. speaker name, VVols, VSAN, etc.) or select filters from the left side (track/sub-track/type). Once you find a session you want to vote on simply click the star at the end of the session name and it will turn yellow and that’s it, your vote is in for that session, repeat for any other sessions you want to vote on.
May 06 2016
The session catalog for VMworld 2016 just appeared online, my google search filter on VVols picked it up and alerted me. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not on VMware’s part but they might be getting ready for the public voting process that is part of the session scoring that determines which sessions are approved or denied. Right now there are 1,575 sessions listed in the catalog as shown below:
June 14th is when notifications are made to session owners, so I imagine the public voting will begin next week and run for several weeks. Of those 1,575 submissions there are probably only a couple hundred that will make it so be sure and get your votes in once the voting goes live.
May 05 2016
The Denver UserCon is on Thursday, May 26th this year from 8:00am-5:00pm in downtown Denver at the Hyatt Regency located at 650 15th Street. This will be my first Denver UserCon in a few years after returning from living in Phoenix for 2 years. As a former Denver VMUG Leader I’ve watched this one mature over the years and grow larger. I actually organized an event of this nature before the UserCon’s existed back in 2010, I called it a Super VMUG and had Scott Lowe, Doug Hazelman and Rob Randall all speaking along with several other vendors.
This year you’ll get to see a trio of Top bloggers and vExperts at the Denver UserCon with Scott Lowe leading off with the morning keynote on NSX, followed by Chris Wahl doing the lunch keynote on tech skills (I saw this in Silicon Valley and it was great) and myself batting clean-up with a session on VVols right after the lunch keynote.
So if you are in the Denver area put this on your calendar and go register for it. I’ll also be at the HPE Booth so stop by and say hi. And as we just lost another long-time Denver VMUG leader, Kevin Divine, who packed up and moved to Minnesota if you are interested in being a Denver VMUG leader be sure and reach out to the VMUG staff.